The culinary traditions of Arequipa, the White City, can be best enjoyed in the so-called picanterías. A good meal starts with hot red peppers stuffed with minced meat, spices, cheese, eggs and milk (rocoto relleno); then the so-called “soltero” made of broad beans, corn, olives and chopped hot red peppers; and ocopa or sliced potatoes with peanut, onion and cracker cream and, finally, chicharrones or “deep-fried” pork.
Favorite soups are the white broth of lamb loins, potatoes, corn, chickpeas, freeze dried potatoes –chuño– and spices, and “puchero,” a stew of boiled beef, pork and chicken with vegetables and spices. Main dishes are “adobo”, a pork loin stew made with hot peppers, onions and corn beer called chicha, served with bread; also “picantes,” spicy dishes made of pork or beef, lamb or duck; “locro” a stew of beef, pork, beans and vegetables; “chupe,” a shrimp chowder where shrimps are fried in hot red pepper and cooked with broad beans, milk, rice, corn and potatoes; and “Malaya”, parboiled and fried flank steak.
Favorite desserts are fritters made of flour, eggs and milk and bathed in molasses syrup; “queso helado” cinnamon, coconut and spices ice cream, plus chocolates and toffees.
Good local beers, regional sodas and corn beer called chicha de jora are popular. Digestives are “té piteado” (tea and anise liqueur) or Nájar anise liqueur.
The cuisine of Arequipa is one of the most variety and rich from Peruvian Cuisine, and the best place to delight with it are the "picanterías" that are the traditional restaurants specialized in this kind of food. They offer you a special beverage called "chicha de jora" served in big glasses and accompanied by four small plates with spicy regional food, in which the "rocoto" (hot chili pepper variety) prevails. These places are usually hosted by singers or regional musical groups.
The tradition of the "picanterías" is to only serve certain dishes in certain days, for example on Monday they serve "Chaque", on Tuesday "Chairo", on Wednesday "Pebre", on Thursday "Timpusca", on Friday "Chupe de Camarones", on Saturday "Timpusca" and on Sunday a special kind of meat called "Blanco de Lomos".
In Arequipa city also exist gourmets restaurants with local, peruvian and international cuisine.
Typical plates of Arequipa:
Rocoto Relleno: Elaborated with fragrant and tender rocotos (red hot peppers) that are cut on its top as a cover, the seeds and veins are extracted to diminish the hot flavor and they are stuffed with chopped meat, peanuts, boiled eggs, olives, cream cheese, and milk, seasoned and baked in the oven; it is served with baked potatoes.
Ocopa: Boiled potatoes covered with a cream (ocopa) made of yellow hot pepper, onion, garlic, cream cheese and huacatay (spice leaf), all blended with dry bread. It is served with boiled eggs, olives, lettuce.
Adobo: Elaborated with pieces of pork meat that have been marinated during the night in chicha, vinegar, hot pepper and spices, cooked in a clay pan and it is served with gravy.
Chairo: Beef broth, marinated with yellow hot pepper, garlic, onion, spices, black chuño (root), pieces of cured meat, tongue of lamb and "patasca" (pork and corn stew). It is served with toasted corn.
Chupe de Camarones: A concentrated broth made from shrimp head extract and accompanied by shrimp tails, dried red chili peppers that are then toasted, poached eggs, yellow potatoes, rice, fresh cheese, and milk. A traditional delicacy of Arequipa cuisine.
Soltero: (or Solterito) A salad of fresh cheese, lima beans, onions, olives, tomatoes, and rocoto.
Chactado: Guinea pig or rabbit that is covered with a spicy and hot pepper gravy and then cooked in a pan placing on top a stone until it is cooked, it is served with boiled potatoes.
Escribano: Potato salad, with rocoto, vinegar, oil, tomatoes, and parsley.
Pebre: Soup with lamb, beef, and ram jerky.
El sango: A dessert made from wheat, raisins, miel de chancaca (sugar syrup), milk, and butter.
There is a regional beer that is considered one of the best in Peru, and also an excellent liquor of anisette. There is also a very good factory of chocolates, bonbons (masapán) and toffees as La Ibérica.